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Genome Biol Evol. 2016 Jun 27;8(6):1839-58. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evw116.

Comparative Expression Dynamics of Intergenic Long Noncoding RNAs in the Genus Drosophila.

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Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park.
Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park


Thousands of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been annotated in eukaryotic genomes, but comparative transcriptomic approaches are necessary to understand their biological impact and evolution. To facilitate such comparative studies in Drosophila, we identified and characterized lncRNAs in a second Drosophilid-the evolutionary model Drosophila pseudoobscura Using RNA-Seq and computational filtering of protein-coding potential, we identified 1,589 intergenic lncRNA loci in D. pseudoobscura We surveyed multiple sex-specific developmental stages and found, like in Drosophila melanogaster, increasingly prolific lncRNA expression through male development and an overrepresentation of lncRNAs in the testes. Other trends seen in D. melanogaster, like reduced pupal expression, were not observed. Nonrandom distributions of female-biased and non-testis-specific male-biased lncRNAs between the X chromosome and autosomes are consistent with selection-based models of gene trafficking to optimize genomic location of sex-biased genes. The numerous testis-specific lncRNAs, however, are randomly distributed between the X and autosomes, and we cannot reject the hypothesis that many of these are likely to be spurious transcripts. Finally, using annotated lncRNAs in both species, we identified 134 putative lncRNA homologs between D. pseudoobscura and D. melanogaster and find that many have conserved developmental expression dynamics, making them ideal candidates for future functional analyses.


Drosophila pseudoobscura; lncRNAs; long noncoding RNA; sex-biased expression; transcriptome evolution

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